Fylde MP Mark Menzies called for the Government to reshape and improve its export finance programme when he spoke at the second reading of the Trade Bill.
The Trade Bill was introduced by Secretary of State Liz Truss.
Speaking via Zoom Conferencing, Mr Menzies said: “There has been much fixation in recent years on trade deals, but they are only part of the picture; much of this is about a smooth transition from the EU arrangements to what comes next. If we are unable in this House to demonstrate to our key countries and partners across the globe that we can pass a piece of legislation, why on earth should we be asking our officials and trade envoys to make representations to senators and presidents to get agreements in place so that when we leave we can have that smooth transition? I therefore urge the House to get behind the Bill and to give it a Second Reading unamended.
“I would like to take this opportunity, however, to challenge the Government on how we plan to use some of the data-collection powers in the Bill. For example, I would like to see some of the data sharing in HMRC to be used to reshape and rescope bodies such as UK Export Finance, because in all of my key markets we only ever reach a tiny percentage of the credit facilities that we say are available.
“Given that London is the global capital of fancy credit mechanisms, I urge the Minister to use some of the expertise in the City and to challenge whether UK Export Finance needs to be given the opportunity to evolve in order to take advantage of some of the real opportunities that are out there.
“Free trade is important, not just as a sign of national prestige, but because it creates jobs and generates the wealth to pay for public services at home and, more importantly, abroad. At a time of rising unemployment, my goodness, we need free trade more than ever, so I will be supporting this Bill in its passage through Parliament.”